Properly handling your website headings is essential in improving your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) efforts. However, this part of creating a web content structure can be confusing - it is often hit-or-miss. So, today, let’s talk about website headings and subheadings and how to construct them properly.
Writing content for a website can be a painstaking process, especially if you want your target audience to see the value of your website content, and show the search engines that you are worth ranking on top of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
Let’s get started.
What are website headings in a web content structure?
Website headings and subheadings are part of a website content structure that helps your readers as well as the search engines to understand your content better by “marking up” what the content is all about.
Also, website subheadings are essential in breaking down content to make it more readable and easily digestible - helping website visitors scan through your content and get the information that they need comfortably by quickly reading your main heading and the following subheadings.
Moreover, site headings are characterised by basic Hypertext Markup Language, commonly known as HTML tags:
<h1> or heading 1
<h2> or heading 2
<h3> or heading 3
<h4> or heading 4
<h5> or heading 5
<h6> or heading 6
This goes to show that a web page content can have multiple headings. We’ll talk more about HTML tags later, so keep on reading.
Why are website headings and subheadings important?
Besides helping your website visitors and the search engines to read and understand your content easily by emphasizing what your content is all about, and by breaking down a massive topic into subtopics, there are more significant reasons why website headings are important:
Increases chances of getting featured with rich snippets
If your website content structure is well laid-out with the headings and subheadings on the right places while answering your target market’s questions directly and concisely, you are highly likely to get featured on the top search results with rich snippets as well as in Google’s “People Also Ask” section which is located in the above-the-fold area of the search results.
A featured rich snippet looks like this:
Now, take note that in our example here, when typing “best smartphone 2020,” the top search result featured snippet shows the direct answers from the website content which are also the website headings and subheadings.
In this case, “Best phone in the US for 2020: the top 15 smartphones we’ve tested” is the website heading 1 or <h1> tag, and the following list of smartphones are all tagged in heading 2 or <h2>.
You can tell by scanning the blog quickly or by using the MozBar tool - it shows website headings and other on-page elements of a site.
On the other hand, being featured in the “People Also Ask” section looks like this:
Similarly, the search results featured in Google’s “People Also Ask” section are tagged with website headings and subheadings such as <h1> and <h2> tags.
So, make sure to use headings and subheadings in your website content to increase the chances of your web pages to get featured on top of the SERPs with rich snippets.
Gives you the advantage to appear on voice search
You see, featured snippets are not the only coveted spot on the search results pages - voice search is also gaining rapid momentum. Thanks to ever-evolving modern-day technology, people are buying voice assistants, and there is a swift increase in voice searches.
According to Google, 20% of searches in the Google App are through voice search, and this data is expected to increase by up to 50% in 2020.
So, well-structured website content has more advantages of being read in a voice search, thereby increasing a web page's visibility to the target audience.
Also, remember that voice assistants only read one result when a user searches through voice - making the matter even more important to keep in mind when creating your web content structure with website headings and subheadings.
Helps you keep up with the ever-changing search behavior
Your target market’s search behavior is constantly changing. Thanks to the various options in doing an Internet search, such as using desktop, mobile, and voice. With this rapid development, your customers are expected to want answers on the spot.
So, if your website content fails to provide information immediately, it is highly likely that your customers will choose your competitor’s site, especially if they get what they need fast.
Google defines this behavior as “micro-moments.” To elaborate, micro-moments are “intent-driven moments of decision-making.” Google notes that businesses will succeed and thrive in the future if they have a strategy that will help them understand and meet the needs of consumers during these micro-moments of doing a search. This strategy could be an effective website content structure.
So, when writing content for a website, it is vital to create a clear web content structure and layout the website headings and subheadings properly to make it easier for your target audience to get the information that they need immediately - you can start with the snippets and expand to more details eventually.
Now, let’s talk about how to handle your website headings and how to create a content structure that both Google and your customers will love.
7 actionable steps on how to handle your website headings
Now that you know what website headings and subheadings are, and how important they are in your web content structure, here are the actionable steps you can follow to make sure that your site’s heading and subheadings are effectively structured:
1. Make sure to break your main topic into subtopics first
Creating a website content structure with the right headings and subheadings will be much easier if you understand the topic structure even before you start writing the content.
For instance, you have an e-commerce website on the electronic dog collars niche. Breaking your main topic into subtopics will go like this:
Electronic Dog Collars
Invisible Fence Collars
Dog Training Collars
Then, you can use the main topic and subtopics to search for the right keywords to target as well as the related terms and concepts to include in your website content.
2. Write descriptive website headings so that users and search engines can scan your content easily
When you visit a website to learn more about a certain topic, do you read the content word by word? I bet not - not always. The same goes for your target audience - people are so time-poor and easily distracted that they are prone to scanning an article online rather than reading the whole page unless they are really interested to know what the content is saying.
So, it is important to write a descriptive website subheadings. In essence, when you take your subheads out of context, they will still make perfect sense - this allows your readers to get a good grasp of what your website content is all about despite them choosing to skim through your web page.
3. Add your primary and secondary keywords in your website headings and subheadings naturally
Including your target keywords in your headings and subheadings will help you better optimize your content for the search engines as well as direct your readers’ attention to what they are looking for more efficiently.
However, remember not to overdo it - only add your target search terms where it makes sense.
4. Keep your target audience questions in mind - use them as your website headings when possible
Using search queries in your website subheadings is a great way to engage your target audience and get featured by the search engines - remember Google’s “People Also Ask” section?
Also, voice searches often come as questions. So, whenever possible, use your target audience quotations as your subheads or write short interrogative sentences as your subheadings.
5. Study each query and discover each specific micro-intent of your customers
When writing content for a website, think about what your customers will expect to see when they type or say their questions to their devices. This time, you quit thinking as a marketer and start thinking like your customers.
So, study the questions, especially when you use them as your website headings and write the best answer to each question. Make sure that the initial paragraph answers the question in a direct and concise manner and provide further details in the following sentences or paragraphs.
For example, when a user searches for “best bark collar for dogs” your customer likely expects to see a few types of bark collars and their brands.
On the other hand, when a user searches for “electric bark collar vs citronella bark collar” your customer might want to see a comparison chart between the two types of bark collar - showing the pros and cons of each item.
Now, when a user searches for “how much is a PetSafe citronella bark collar” your customer expects to see the price of that particular product. You can give more details on saving more money, but first, you have to show the user the actual cost to keep him or her engaged with your content.
Basically, it is best to follow up on your website subheadings with direct answers, especially if you use the questions asked by your target audience as headings.
6. Use HTML headings to establish topic hierarchy and help users and search engines understand your content better
This is the most essential step when creating a website content structure - HTML headings determine the hierarchy of your content.
Use HTML tags to emphasize the main topic, the subtopics, and the points that follow the subheads that are also important. So, you start your content with the <h1> tag as the main topic followed by the <h2> which may include <h3> which commonly includes <h4> and so on.
So, using the Electronic Dog Collars example, the backend of your website will most likely look like this:
<h1> Electronic Dog Collars </h1><h2> Bark Collars </h2><h3> Electric Bark Collars </h3>
<h3> Citronella Bark Collars </h3>
<h3> Vibration Bark Collars </h3>
<h3> Ultrasonic Bark Collars </h3>
<h2> Invisible Fence Collars </h2>
<h3> Big Dog Invisible Fence Collars </h3>
<h3> Small Dog Invisible Fence Collars </h3>
<h2> Dog Training Collars </h2>
<h3> Remote Training Collars </h3>
<h3> Sporting Dog COllars </h3>
<h3> Clickers and Reward Trainers </h3>
7. Tap the content structure experts to handle your website headings and create high-quality content for your site
The Internet is such a crowded multi-universe, to say the least. According to Internet Live Stats, there are over 4 billion Internet users around the world, 1.7 billion websites, over 11 billion emails sent per day, over 3 million Google searches a day, about 300,000 blog posts published every day and over 300 million GB of Internet traffic generated worldwide per day.
Capturing your target audience's attention and interests in this exploding multi-universe is an immense challenge. In fact, 55% of website visitors only spend less than 15 seconds on a web page.
These are daunting statistics, but you can beat these numbers with excellent website content writing - a well-planned web content structure with a well-written content that is optimized for both search users and search engines can rise to the coveted top spots of the SERPs, and most importantly, capture your customers’ attention and interests.
The best thing is that you can take these exhausting tasks off your shoulders but still thrive with the challenge by hiring technical SEO experts - let them write multiple high-quality pieces of content for your website and entice a following with click-worthy, read-worthy, and link-worthy content.
Remember that a website content structure can significantly affect your site’s ranking and visibility in the search results pages as well as how it captures your target market’s interests. To sum up what you’ve learned in today’s article:
Website headings are an essential part of a web content structure - when properly laid-out, they will increase your chances of getting features with rich snippets, appear on the coveted single voice search result, and help you keep up with the ever-changing consumer search behavior.
The actionable steps of handling your website subheadings include the following:
breaking the main topic into subtopics,
writing descriptive headings while adding your primary and secondary target keywords in a natural manner,
using your target market’s search queries as your subheadings and making sure that you write the best answers to cater to their micro-intent when searching,
Managing Partner, has been building Delante since 2014. Responsible for international SEO strategies. He has a strong analytical approach to online marketing backed by more than 12 years of experience. Previously associated with the IT industry, as well as the automotive, tobacco, and financial markets. Has experience in creating scaled processes based on agile methodologies.
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